Monday, September 23, 2013

September Craft Challenge: Anja's Amazing American Paper Art

  Anja is rapidly becoming my craft idol. Having visited her beautiful home in the summer and seen her creativity in action, this month's craft entry came as NO surprise to me whatsoever. I absolutely love this and am totally stealing it for my table centres at the wedding. I had another idea to do with maps...and this has just blown it out of the water. Thank goodness I hadn't already made them, hey? Remember that you can vote for your favourite paper project next week and link up your own.

Vacations are awesome. I guess I don't have to tell you that. But the buzz of holiday happiness wears off so quickly once you get back to work and into your daily routine. That's why I always try to find a cute way of remembering the holiday, besides just framing some of your favourite photos. That's why I decided to make some state art from paper and the state quarters that I collected.

Of course, this also works fine for your trip around Asia or Europe or whatever, just that in Europe you'll have to collect the different Euro coins from the respective countries you visited. (We have the same currency in most European countries, but there are different pictures on the back of the coins.)
This month's Craft challenge topic is paper, so besides having had a couple of paper projects so far (for example the paper flower lamp and the DIY mini book) this idea worked perfectly for the topic. Which is a good thing because I wouldn't have had the time to come up with something completely out of the blue. The state art was something that I had been planning to do all along.

When we were in the states this summer, we made it a habit of trying to collect as many state quarters as we could. Of course, we also tried to get all the quarters of states we have been to which wasn't all that easy. I chatted up hotel concierges and bartenders and ended up with lots of quarters, but I am still missing Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia. I love state quarters!
Here's how you can make your own state art:
First, you have to find the outlines of the states you want to use. There are lots of resources on the internet, for example. For mine, I used a kids' colouring book. Cut them out. Don't worry about every little island or inlet because that is really trouble (I'm talking about you, Maryland!)

Use those outlines as templates on pretty coloured paper. I decided to use different hues of blue, some with patterns, some without.

I bought a bunch of simple white frames at Ikea. As you want to hang your frames together, you'll want a bit of a uniform look. So I used two makeshift templates: I folded one paper to designate the highest and the lowest point where the state outline could be glued. And I used the scrap paper in the frame as a template for where the coin should be. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it really helps with a nice and clean look of all the frames.
Glue the state outline and the coin onto a white paper. Basically, now you're done. Pretty nifty, right?
The only thing left to do for me was hang the frames on the wall. That's a lot of measuring, but it's not all that hard.

Wait, this is not a wall, right? Well, no it isn't. We have had two weeks of terrible weather, so I didn't get any good pictures of this project on the wall. The photo on the floor isn't super professional, either, but I guess you will have to live with that!

Besides displaying your vacation destinations, there are so many great things you can do like that. For example, if you move around a lot, why not create a frame for each state or country where you lived? I can also imagine a wall of all the fifty states in a kid's room to learn something about the USA. After all, the state quarters have dates and symbols on them.

This is a perfect way for us to make our 'significant' places centre pieces, don't you think? AND it gives me a reason to head to Ikea for frames. Whoop! In other news, I am still packing....or I should be right now, but I am putting my head into a number of chores that must be done today - including a load of school prep. Up next, I am booking my one-way flight to Germany. Can you believe it! After 3 years and 4 months of commuting between countries, we'll finally be in the same place - AND married to boot. 4 weeks and 5 days to go until I'm a Mrs (not that I'm counting at all.). Any marriage advice I should follow from Day One?
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Monday, September 16, 2013

September Craft Challenge: PJ's Perfectly Pretty Paper Flower.

I have such a treat for you today. It's P.J's turn to wow us with her paper projects - and if you look at her blog you'll see that it is one of her absolute specialities. I think that I will be stealing this idea for my wedding.....because ANOTHER hand-crafted item is exactly what I definitely need. I could also use another 8 months extra to be ready in time with all of the new projects I'll be adding - although as these are described as 'easy' I might just get away with squeezing them in! Any ideas where?!? Read on and let me know your thoughts in the comment below.
On Sunday I shared the great box of goodies that my new buddy from Real {Cheap} Housewives of Texas sent me as a part of the Package Pals craft exchange.  I immediately fell in love with the fabric broach that she sent to me.  I was curious if I could recreate it in paper.  I can!  And so can you.

You need four different patterns of paper, mine all came from the same book so it all kind of ties together.  I cut three circles in each pattern, six large circles and six smaller circles.  I did 3" and 2" but it's up to you!
The circles are folded in half, but not totally folded.  I left each end unfolded so that the finished flower would have some character.  After that the half circle is folded in thirds, again I only folded the bottom portion so that the top would pop open a little

Fold all the circles the same way.  It takes no time at all.  If you wanted to make a bunch of flowers I would just sit down in front of a good show and fold for an hour or two.

I used hot glue to secure all the larger "petals" to a piece of scrap card stock.

Nothing fancy, just a piece I rough cut.

See how it doesn't lay perfectly flat?

Do the same for the second layer.
Top it off with a decorative button, or sticker.
I used one on a plane wooden frame I covered with another coordinating piece of paper from the same book.

I  used a cute picture of my Lady, because she's real jealous of the new puppy!
I love this project and the use of the different papers. I will be sorting through all of my craft supplies today and then packing 'sniff' I am not sure when (apart from later today) I will be crafting again until I move. I just hope I can get the October, November and December projects finished in time. Well...I am off to pack more things, prepare more lessons and clean stuff. I WILL be writing more again in the future - but you guys know how it gets when those big life changes happen. I think we can agree that moving to a new country, planning a wedding and holding down a full time job is enough for most people. I WISH I had time to even write about it for you. Soon my friends....soon.
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Monday, September 9, 2013

September Craft Challenge: Adventures with Paper

You haven't gone mad; it was reasonable that you expected this post last week, but unfortunately my return to work meant I was up to my eye-balls in lesson planning. Well there are 5 Mondays in September so I think I can be forgiven! (Please forgive me!) This month the Craft Challenge is to make something with paper - a free choice apart from the material. Before I show you my ruffled heart (a little wedding craft trial), it's time to announce the winners of last month's craft vote. For those of you who missed our garden craft round-up, you can find it here.
August Craft Challenge Results:
1st: Anja's garden chandelier
2nd: PJ's gnome sign
3rd: Rosie's weather mobile
I saw the chandelier in real life over the summer - and I think I would have voted for it too! The following ruffled heart craft is simple enough for me to want to make multiple versions to be displayed at my wedding - although I think I will pick a darker blue or a patterned version for the final 'draft'.
To make the ruffled heart you need: a paper mache heart form or flat cardboard shape, tissue paper with complimentary coloured paint, glue or double sided tape, scissors and a pen.
1. As I only intended to ruffle one side, I painted the whole heart in a colour that matched the paper.
 2. I drew a scalloped shape across the top of the folded tissue paper making a longer garland. Then I cut it out.
 3. Once unravelled I positioned the paper across the heart starting at the bottom. I used double sided tape to attach the paper to the heart form.
 4. Alternate the scallops to create a ruffled effect. As you get closer to the top the top edge of the paper needs to get slightly narrower.
5. Trim the sides to get a uniform edge. Hang....and enjoy...simples!
The next time I make this, I am going to try it on a flat heart shape - I think these might be easier to hang and a great alternative if you do not have access to a Paper Mache shape.

Remember that you too can share your paper craft this month, on the last Monday. You'll be pleased to know that I am now back in the UK and well underway with my next bunting sewing marathon. Let's hope I end up with more than 7 metres this time - only another 53 to go....wahhhhhh. Wish me luck!
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